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GEESE; COMMERCIAL FARMING

Contents
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Introduction Classification Breeds and Varieties Breeding Incubation Housing Brooding Feeding Rearing Production and Management Diseases Vaccination Schedule

Introduction
The word goose (plural: geese) ( ) is the English name for a considerable number of birds, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than true geese, and ducks, which are smaller. The term goose applies to the female in particular. The word gander is used for a male in particular. Young birds before fledging are called goslings. A group of geese on the ground is called a gaggle; when geese fly in formation they are called a wedge or a skein. Geese are monogamous, living in permanent pairs throughout the year; however, unlike most other permanently monogamous animals, they are territorial only during the short nesting season. Paired geese are more dominant and feed more, two factors that result in more young.

Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) winter in the wetlands of Pakistan

Classification

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Sub-Phylum

Vertebra

Class

Aves

Sub-Class

Neornithes

Superorder

Galloanserae

Order

Anseriformes

Family

Anatidae

Subfamily

Anserinae

Genus

Anser

Branta

Chen

Species

Anser Anser Anser indicus Anser atavus

Branta canadensis Branta sandyicensis Branta ruficollis

Neochen jubata Alopochen aegyptiacus Cyanochen cyanopterus Chen canagica

Common Names
Species Name
Anser Anser Anser indicus Anser atavus Branta Canadensis Branta sandvicensis Branta ruficollis Neochen jubata Alopochen aegyptiacus Cyanochen cyanopterus Chen canagica

Common Name
Greylag Goose Bar-headed goose Great-great-great-grandfather goose Canada Goose Hawaiian Goose Red-breasted Goose Orinoco Goose Egyptian Goose Blue-winged Goose Emperor Goose

Breeds and Varieties


There are six standard breeds of geese consisting of the following: Toulouse Embden African Chinese Wild or Canadian Egyptian All of these breeds consist of a single variety with the exception of the Chinese which is composed of two. The Toulouse is known as the Gray Toulouse, the Embden as the White Embden, the African as the Gray African, the two varieties of the Chinese as the Brown Chinese and the White Chinese, the Wild or Canadian as the Gray and the Egyptian as the Colored. The first four of these breeds are the ones which are commonly kept in domestication. In a general way it may be said that these breeds are meat breeds for the reason that they are kept mainly for the production of meat. The Wild or Canadian and the Egyptian are more in the nature of ornamental breeds since they are not so commonly kept and are principally to be found where ornamental water-fowls are maintained.

The Toulouse
Characterized by its very low down deep broad massive body The body should come well down in front and should be so deep and full behind that it tends to drag on the ground when the bird walks. Dark gray plumage, brown eyes and an orange goose bill The skin of the rear portion of the body should have folds. Birds of this breed are of large size and make quick growth and for this reason are a fine market goose although the dark colored pin feathers are somewhat of a drawback from a market point of view.

The Embden
This breed is of good size but somewhat smaller than the Toulouse. Not have developed keel as in Toulouse Have no dewlap Plumage is pure white which makes them excellent market bird. They are rapid growers and mature early

The African
Much similar to toulose but smaller in size Low down body which is flat in keel and without any folds of skin. Neck is short Characterized by a knob or protuberance extending out from the head at the base of the upper bill and knob is black in color They have dewlap Quick growing and early maturing

The Chinese
Grouped into brown Chinese and white Chinese Brown Chinese have knob dark color or black and white Chinese have orange color konb Brown Chinese have rich brown shaded plumage whereas white Chinese have pure white color plumage

The Wild or Canadian


It is smaller, set much higher on legs and its body is neater and trimmer, and is oblong and carried in a horizontal position. The neck is long and slender. These birds mate only in pairs as a rule and the females do not mature and lay until they are three years old. The ganders often breed when they are two years old. Single sitting of eggs is laid consisting of from 4 to 8.

The Egyptian
Smallest of the standard breeds of geese Long legs and adequate neck Brightest in color than others They mate in pairs only and lay but one sitting during the year. The females do not lay until they are three years old.

The American Poultry Association divides breeds of geese into three classes based on body weight.

HEAVY WEIGHT GOOSE C ASS


Brown Afri n Geese (sometimes called Giant Dewlap African or Super African) Buff African Geese White Embden Geese (sometimes called Giant Embden or Emden) Buff Toulouse Geese Gray Toulouse Geese (sometimes called Giant Dewlap Toulouse)

MEDIUM WEIGHT GOOSE C ASS


American Blue Geese American Lavender Geese Gray Saddleback Pomeranian Geese Blue Sebastopol Geese Buff Sebastopol Geese Gray Sebastopol Geese Lavender Sebastopol Geese Saddleback Sebastopol Geese White Sebastopol Geese

LIGHT WEIGHT GOOSE CLASS


Brown Chinese Geese (sometimes called Chinas) White Tufted Roman Geese Auto-Sexing Shetland Geese

Important Species
Northern Screamer (Chauna chavaria)
The Northern Screamer is a uni ue-looking and large goose that can be found in Colombia and Venezuela. This goose with remarkably peculiar neck can reach a length of 86 cm and can weigh as much as 4 kilograms. It is also commonly called as the Black-necked Screamer.

Saddleback Sebastopol Goose

The lovely Saddleback Sebastopol is a breed of domestic goose with unique curly and long feathers. It is a descendant of European Graylag. It is also referred to as Danubian Goose. This medium sized goose can weigh up to 7 kg or more. I love the eyes of this goose its blue. Its legs and shanks are orange.

Cape Barren Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)


The Cape Barren Goose is a large goose that lives in southern Australia. It is a bulky goose that can grow up to 100 cm in length and can attain a weight of up to 7 kg. This gregarious goose seldom swims.

Hawaiian Goose (Branta sandvicensis)


The medium-sized Hawaiian Goose with an unusual appearance is native to Hawaii. It is more popularly known in Hawaii as Nene. This species of bird is the state bird of Hawaii and can only be found on the islands of Maui, Kauai and Hawaii. It can attain a length of 41 cm and can weigh up to 3.5 kg. It is unique in appearance due to its black and white diagonal stripes.

Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata)


The Orinoco Goose is a species of bird that can be found in South America. It usually grows to a length of 76 cm and inhabits forest lakes or marshes near open woodland or savannah. This bird seldom swims nor flies.

Horned Screamer (Anhima cornuta)


The Horned Screamer is a small bird that is endemic to South America. It inhabits tropical wetlands and belongs to the genus Chauna, where the Southern and Northern Screamer belongs. This massive goose-related bird is 95 cm in length and weighs 4 kg. It has a long quill projecting forward on the crown; hence the name.

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)

The Egyptian Goose is a goose that breeds in Africa and can be found mostly in the Nile Valley. It has been introduced also in Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. This large terrestrial species can grow to a length of 73 cm. It is a good swimmer.

Crested Screamer (Chauna torquata)


The Crested Screamer, more popularly known as Southern Screamer, is a unique looking bird that is found in South America Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay. This bird is vegetarian and inhabits subtropical and tropical swamps, estuaries and watersides. This good swimmer and flier can attain a length of 95 cm and a weight of 5 kg. It has a lifespan of 15 years and has a very loud call that can be heard as far as 2 miles away.

Bar-Headed Goose (Anser indicus)


This lovely-looking bird called Bar-headed Goose is one of the highest flying birds in the world. It is a resident breeder of Central Asia and lives in colonies of thousands near mountain lakes. It lays three to eight eggs at a time in a ground nest. It can fly as high as 10,175 m or 33,382 feet. During winter, it migrates over the Himalayas to stay in India, Burma and Pakistan. The bird can fly the 1000-mile migration route in just one day as it is able to fly in jet stream.

Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)


The Red-breasted Goose with distinct appearance breeds in Arctic Europe and winters in southeastern Europe. This small species of goose is sometimes with Brent flocks and can be distinguished by their dark sooty color.

Toulouse Goose
The Toulouse is a very old domesticated goose that originated from Toulouse, France. This massive bird can weigh up to 9 kg. It is well known for its ponderous appearance and large dewlaps. This breed that is also a good layer of egg will lay up to 160 eggs a year. They love to play in the water and also mates in water. It rarely has problem.

Emperor Goose (Chen canagica)


The elite-looking Emperor Goose breeds in Bering Sea, Alaska and Russia and migrates during winter in the Aleutian Islands. This is a goose with a stout gray body.

Breeding
Geese are mainly kept for meat production, so the breeding stock are selected based on their quick growth, early-maturity and meaty bodies.

Fertility
Breeders that are over-sized or over-fat may result in poor fertility. Healthy, vigorous stock from geese of marketing age and body weight should be selected.

Age

Breeders should be at least one year old for mating and are kept for breeding until they are ten years of age, but ganders are culled at six years of age. The length of time breeders are kept depends on the performance.

Mating
Generally, one gander to three geese is used with the heavier breeds, but with the Chinese and lighter breeds, one gander to five geese is used. Geese like mating on water and swimming water can be provided in the breeding season as it keeps the geese and the eggs clean. They should be mated once per month at least before the breeding season starts. Geese are finicky about their mates, but once they establish a relationship, they remain together for life.

Egg Production
Spring is the main egg-laying time, around August and September. Chinese breeds start laying in winter and lay about 12-15 eggs and then brood.

Incubation
Care of Eggs for Hatching
Since egg production usually begins early in the spring while the weather is still cold, it is necessary to gather the eggs at frequent intervals to prevent their freezing or becoming chilled. Later in the season daily collection will be satisfactory. The eggs as collected should be kept in a cool place and where the evaporation of the egg contents will not be too great. If set at fairly frequent intervals, there will be no difficulty on this score. If they are to be kept for some time, they may be stored in bran to prevent evaporation. It is well to mark the eggs as gathered with the date they are laid so as to overcome the possibility of saving too long any eggs for hatching. Some goose raisers think that it is best to wash goose eggs before setting them. This belief is based on the fact that when a goose makes her own nest and has access to water in which to swim she comes on the nest with her feathers wet. It is to simulate this condition that the eggs are washed. Certainly any dirty eggs should be washed.

Methods of Incubation
The most usual methods of hatching goose eggs are by means of the chicken hen and the goose. Incubators may also be used but do not as a rule seem to give as good results as they do with hen or duck eggs. Turkey hens may also be utilized for this purpose but are not commonly available although they make good mothers. Probably the most common method of hatching is the use of chicken hens. Next common is to allow the goose to hatch her own eggs. Goose eggs hatch well under hens or geese. During the height of the season nearly every fertile egg should hatch if the breeding geese are managed and fed so that they are in good condition. Early in the season the eggs may not run as fertile or hatch as well as later.

Period of Incubation

The period of incubation of goose eggs is approximately 30 days, but may vary from 28 to 33 or occasionally even 35 days.

Hatching with Chicken Hens


Chicken hens are used very commonly to hatch goose eggs both because they give good results and are readily available and also because it is desirable to take the first eggs laid by the geese away and not to let them get broody and sit so that they will lay more eggs. For the latter reason practically all the eggs laid early in the season are hatched by chicken hens. The nest can be prepared for the hen either in a suitable place in a poultry house or in a shed or other building or in a box or barrel on the ground. As soon as the hen shows that she is ready to sit by staying on the nest, in which has been placed a nest egg or two, for a couple of nights in succession, she may be given a sitting of eggs. Four to 6 goose eggs will constitute a sitting for a common hen. The hen should be confined to the nest being let off only once a day for exercise, feed and water. The sitting hen must be given good care, being even more particular in this respect than when she is sitting on hens' eggs as the period of incubation is longer. In addition to being careful to see that the hen comes off her nest for food and water she should be dusted 2 or 3 times during the hatch with some good insect powder to keep her free from lice and therefore contented to stay on the nest. Two or 3 days before the goslings hatch she should be dusted with especial care so that the goslings will be free from vermin. On account of the large size of the eggs the hen should not be depended upon to turn them and this should be done by hand once or twice daily.

Hatching with Geese


All breeds of geese will hatch their eggs although some are more persistently broody than others while there is a considerable difference in individuals in this respect. Toulouse and Chinese are perhaps the least broody of the breeds and are sometimes termed non-broody. The eggs laid by geese are generally gathered as laid. If this were not done they will become broody and stop laying quicker than they do under this treatment.

The goose should be allowed to make her own nest. Often she will do this in a barrel, box or other shelter if these are conveniently available. When she shows that she is broody and has stopped laying she should be given a sitting of eggs which will consist of 10 or 11. Geese are often difficult to manage when they have young.

Wild and Egyptian geese should always be allowed to make their own nests which they like to do on dry ground near the water, using straw leaves or similar material to make the nest. They should not be disturbed as they are ugly during this time. They wi l hatch l practically every egg.

Hatching with an Incubator


While it is more difficult to hatch goose eggs in incubators than it is hen or duck eggs, this can be done by an experienced operator with a fair degree of success. The incubator should be operated at a temperature of 101.5 to 102.5 degrees F., with the thermometer so placed that the bulb is on a level with the top of the eggs. Beginning with the third day, the eggs should be turned twice a day as with hens' eggs. Beginning about the tenth day, the eggs should be cooled once a day, and they need more cooling than hens' eggs require. They should be cooled down to a temperature of about 80 to 85 degrees. All goose eggs whether in incubators or under hens or geese should be tested once during the hatch. The be time to do st this is sometime between the tenth and fourteenth days, when any infertile eggs or dead germs should be thrown out.

Moisture for Hatching Eggs


Where eggs are being hatched in an incubator, there is need for the use of considerable moisture. It should be added first at about the end of the first week of incubation and should be repeated a couple of times during the second week. This can best be done by sprinkling the eggs liberally with water heated to about 100 degrees. Beginning with the 15th day and until 2 or 3 days before the eggs are ready to hatch soak them in warm water for from one-half a minute to a minute once every 2 or 3 days. For the last 2 or 3 days do this daily. When the eggs are being hatched by chicken hens or geese in nes indoors or in ts boxes or barrels and in dry weather, moisture should be added in the same manner and with the same frequency and amount as in the incubator. When the nest is on damp ground, it is not necessary to use any moisture on the eggs.

Hatching
Goslings as a rule hatch rather slowly and somewhat unevenly, especially when under hens. For this reason it is well to remove each gosling as it hatches from under the hen or goose and place it in a covered, cloth-lined box or basket and keep near the stove until the hatch is completed. As soon as the hatch is over, the goslings that have been removed from the nest can be put back under the hen or goose which is to be allowed to assume the duties of motherhood.

Housing
Sheds
The sheds should be enclosed with the ability to be locked at nights and in bad weather. This keeps the predators away and the birds secure.

Nests
Each shed should have some nest boxes, although geese are in the habit of making their own nests in the litter on the floor. If geese are going to be housed totally on pasture, then housing is not required but the area should be made totally predator-proof.

Flooring
A layer of shavings on the floor will keep the area dry. Geese have the habit of fouling their sleeping areas, so litter has to be cleared frequently. It is a good idea to use slatted floors to ensure proper drainage.

Free Space
Each shed should have a spacious yard; this should be planned based on the number of geese per shed. It is important to provide separate sheds for each breeding flock with pastured area.

Breeding sheds
Breeding sheds need only be simple. A skillion roof provides suitable shelter but it is essential that the shed be completely enclosed, and locked at night for protection against foxes and other predators. An 810 cm layer of shavings on the floor will help maintain dry conditions, which are essential. Cement floors may be needed, depending on climate and drainage. Geese tend to foul their sleeping quarters, so damp and wet litter must be removed frequently. For this reason, in many overseas countries there is a move towards housing geese on slatted floors.

Yards

Yards should be provided with each shed. Yard size is partly determined by the amount of space available and the method of management and feeding. As a guide, a yard should allow each goose 2 m2 of ground space. Yards should be as large as possible, and before running geese, it is best to sow the yards to pasture. The size of the yards will be governed to a large extent by the number of geese to each shed. Each breeding flock need not be confined to a separate shed and yard. Provide each shed with nest boxes, even though some geese will make their own nests in the litter on the floor. If geese are to be housed extensively on pasture, then it is not essential to provide birds with houses as such; however, the yard should be completely fox-proofed.

Slatted floors
The following are suggested specifications for slatted floors provided in geese housing:
y y y y

2 cm width at top of slat to ensure good standing area; 1.5 cm width at bottom to ensure easy removal of excreta; 1.5 cm distance between slats; 1 m2 floor space per goose.

Height above ground level is governed by the way excreta is cleaned away.

Brooding
Brooding is the management practice to which young poultry are subjected immediately after hatching and for geese this is considered to be the first three weeks of life. The most important aspect of brooding is to provide extra heat so that there will be no temperature shock when the newly hatched goslings are moved from the incubator to the area where they will be brooded and grown. To ensure that the temperature in the brooding area is stable, it is important that the heat sources be turned on at least 24 hours before the goslings arrive. Success in raising geese depends to a large extent on the care and attention the young birds receive during the brooding period. Frequent management checks to make sure that the goslings are comfortable and have enough feed and water is one of the surest ways of raising healthy goslings. Almost any building can be used for brooding geese providing it is dry, clean and free of draughts and vermin. It is important to remember that the colder the ambient temperature of the room or building where the goslings are being brooded, the more heat will be required from the localized brooder heat source to maintain the temperature where the birds are located. Any brooder heat source that can be used for chickens can be used for goslings with the recommendation, depending on ambient temperature, that the number of goslings does not exceed one-third to half the number of chicks recommended by the manufacture.

Energy sources may include electricity, oil, coal, natural gas, propane or other organic fuel. Normally the areas where the brooder heat sources are located will have a protective guard placed around them to reduce draughts and to ensure that the goslings will not stray from the heat source. This guard need only be in place for the first 2-3 days of the brooding period. A circular area is preferable for this purpose as it prevents the goslings from crowding into a corner. In areas where electrical interruptions are frequent, an alternative energy source should be used for brooding, although researc in Canada has shown that goslings are h resistant to temperature drops during the brooding period as long as they do not crowd and smother each other. When goslings arrive, the temperature at bird level directly under the heat source should be 36-37C which can be reduced to 32-33C at the end of the first week and to 2325C by the end of the second week. After the third week, no further additional heat source should be required unless the ambient temperature in the building is below 20C. The best guide to deciding when to reduce the temperature and when to remove the brooding heat source is the behaviour of the goslings. If they are too cold, they will be huddled together close to the heat source and if they are too warm they will be far away from the heat source as shown in Figure;

During the brooding period, a waterfowl starter ration in the form of either crumbles or small pellets is recommended and should be fed ad libitum. These starter rations normally have a crude protein level of between 16.0-18.0 percent and a metabolizable energy level of between 2600-2900 kcal ME/kg. If a goose starter ration is not available then a chicken starter ration of similar protein and energy levels can be used. Mash feed can also be used if neither crumbles nor pellets are available. In many low income and food deficient countries, where feed mills do not exist, farmers must use the local sources of nutrients to provide essential nutrients such as ground cereals and chopped fresh grass. Such feeding systems, however, are usually protein deficient and can lead to very slow growth. If it is possible, the diet should be balanced with a supplement high in protein content such as soybeans, cotton seed or peanuts. The total feed consumption for goslings, depending on breed, for this initial three week period will be between 2.5-2.7 kg of starter ration. Goslings will consume between 7-8 litres of water during this period. If the goslings have access to high quality forage (ryegrass, white clover, cabbage, or even nettles) during the three week brooding period, this could reduce their intake of the complete ration by as much as 20 percent.

Feeding
Goslings should have feed and drinking water when they are started unde the r brooder or hen. Use waterers the birds can't get into to prevent losses from chilling. Waterers should be wide and deep enough for the bird to dip both bill and head. Pans or troughs with wire guards are satisfactory. They should be placed over screened platforms to aid in keeping litter dry. Change waterers or adjust size as birds grow. Feeds formulated for goose feeding programs are not normally available from commercial suppliers. Goslings can be started on a crumbled or pelted chick starter. Place feed the first few days on egg case flats or other rough paper. Use the same type of feeders as used for chicks, changing type or adjusting size as the birds grow. Keep feed before the birds at all times and provide insoluble grit. After the first 2-3 weeks, a pelted chick grower ration can be fed, supplemented with a cracked grain. Geese are quite hardy and not susceptible to many of the common poultry diseases so medicated feed is not generally necessary. Certain coccidiostats used in starting and growing mashes may cause lameness or even death in goslings. Geese are excellent foragers. Good succulent pasture or lawn clippings can be provided as early as the first week. By the time the birds are 5-6 weeks old, a good share of their feed can be from forage. Geese can be very selective and tend to pick out the palatable forages. They will reject alfalfa and narrow-leaved tough grasses and select more succulent clovers, bluegrass, orchard grass, timothy, and bromegrass. Geese can't be grown satisfactorily on dried-out, mature pasture. Corn or pea silage can be fed if available. An acre of pasture will support 20-40 birds, depending on the size of the geese and pasture quality. A 3-foot woven wire fence will ordinarily confine the geese to the grazing area. Be sure that the pasture areas and green feed have not had any chemical treatment that may be harmful to the birds. The birds should be provided shade in hot weather. Although supplemental grain feeding of goslings is often continued after they have been established on good pasture, many flocks are raised on green feed alone during th e

pasture period. Geese to be marketed should be fed a turkey finishing or similar ration for 3-4 weeks before processing. Any birds saved for breeding stock should not be fattened. Farm geese are usually sold in time for the holiday market in late fall when they are 5-6 months old. They will weigh from 11-15 pounds depending on the strain and breed. Some young geese (also called green geese or junior geese) full fed for rapid growth are also marketed at 10-12 pounds when they are 10-13 weeks old. For several weeks after this age geese have many pinfeathers which are difficult to remove during processing. Growth of geese after 10-13 weeks is very slow compared with the rapid growth of the young gosling. Considerable attention has been given to the use of geese to control weeds in cotton, strawberries, and some truck crops. Development of more selective herbicides is reducing this practice. The problems in coordination of bird supply and management with weed and crop growth make goose weeding rather impractical for most producers.

Rearing and Growing


Goslings should have feed and drinking water when they are started under the brooder or hen. Use waterers the birds can't get into to prevent losses from chilling. Waterers should be wide and deep enough for the bird to dip both bill and head. Pans or troughs with wire guards are satisfactory. They should be placed over screened platforms to aid in keeping litter dry. Change waterers or adjust size as birds grow. Feeds formulated for goose feeding programs are not normally available from commercial suppliers. Goslings can be started on a crumbled or pelted chick starter. Place feed the first few days on egg case flats or other rough paper. Use the same type of feeders as used for chicks, changing type or adjusting size as the birds grow. Keep feed before the birds at all times and provide insoluble grit. After the first 2-3 weeks, a pelted chick grower ration can be fed, supplemented with a cracked grain. Geese are quite hardy and not susceptible to many of the common poultry diseases so medicated feed is not generally necessary. Certain coccidiostats used in starting and growing mashes may cause lameness or even death in goslings. Geese are excellent foragers. Good succulent pasture or lawn clippings can be provided as early as the first week. By the time the birds are 5-6 weeks old, a good share of their feed can be from forage. Geese can be very selective and tend to pick out the palatable forages. They will reject alfalfa and narrow-leaved tough grasses and select more succulent clovers, bluegrass, orchard grass, timothy, and bromegrass. Geese can't be grown satisfactorily on dried-out, mature pasture. Corn or pea silage can be fed if available. An acre of pasture will support 20-40 birds, depending on the size of the geese and pasture quality. A 3-foot woven wire fence will ordinarily confine the geese to the grazing area. Be sure that the pasture areas and green feed have not had any chemical treatment that may be harmful to the birds. The birds should be provided shade in hot weather. Although supplemental grain feeding of goslings is often continued after they have been established on good pasture, many flocks are raised on green feed alone during the pasture period. Geese to be marketed should be fed a turkey finishing or similar ration for 3-4 weeks before processing. Any birds saved for breeding stock should not be fattened.

Farm geese are usually sold in time for the holiday market in late fall when they are 5-6 months old. They will weigh from 11-15 pounds depending on the strain and breed. Some young geese (also called green geese or junior geese) full fed for rapid growth are also marketed at 10-12 pounds when they are 10-13 weeks old. For several weeks after this age geese have many pinfeathers which are difficult to remove during processing. Growth of geese after 10-13 weeks is very slow compared with the rapid growth of the young gosling.

Geese grown in confinement are generally raised on deep litter which is considered the classical system of poultry production. However, they may also be grown on a raised floor of wooden slates, plastic slats, heavy wire mesh or expanded metal without exhibiting any of the problems of breast blisters etc. so common with chicken broilers grown under these systems. The advantages of the raised floor systems are that: Approximately twice as many birds can be housed per square metre The droppings pass through the floor to a pit or the ground below; Any water spilled from the drinkers passes through the floor and does not cause any problem; The risk of parasite infection is reduced. With the deep litter system, the drinkers should be located on a wire or slatted area so that spilled water does not wet the litter. One practice is to have one third of the floor space elevated with wire mesh or wooden or plastic slats to accommodate the drinkers. With the deep litter system, the drinkers should be located on a wire or slatted area so that spilled water does not wet the litter. One practice is to have one third of the floor space elevated with wire mesh or wooden or plastic slats to accommodate the drinkers. At six weeks of age, the density of geese raised on deep litter should not exceed four geese per square metre, and only three after 13 weeks. For those raised on a sl tted floor a system, the respective values are seven and five birds per square metre. It must be noted that large geese in hot weather may require more space. Under intensive confined conditions, geese should receive 15 cm of feeding space per bird. If at any time restricted feeding is practised, irrespective of the system used, it is vital that sufficient feeder space is provided so that all birds can eat at the same time. If this is not done, the more timid birds will simply not get any feed as it will be all gone by the time they get to the feeder.

The watering space per bird should be about 5 cm per bird. Drinkers must be of a durable nature and should not be large. A drinker 20 cm square and 10 cm deep to contain about 3 cm of water is recommended by some producers, while both commercial hog and cattle drinkers have been reported to work very well with geese. It is important that the drinker does not spill a lot of water. When automatic drinkers are not available, it is possible to use any ordinary container, but it must be filled often to provide abundant fresh water. It is useful to adapt the containers so that the birds cannot bath in them.

The type of feed generally fed during the growing period is a pelted waterfowl growing ration ranging from 10-13 percent crude protein with a metabolizable energy level of 2 700-2 900 kcal ME/kg. If such rations are not be available then a chicken broiler or a chicken roaster ration of similar nutrient density can be used. While the recommendation is to use a pelted or crumbled feed for growing geese, in many parts of the world these are not available and, in such cases, the rations can be fed as a mash.

Management of Geese
Brooding Waterfowl
Waterfowl can be started much like chickens. However, some special precautions should be taken. It is extremely important that you don't brood waterfowl on slippery surfaces, like newspaper, to prevent spraddled legs. Paper towels, a cloth or burlap will give the best traction. Don't raise small breeds of waterfowl on mesh wire. Many small waterfowl will get their hocks stuck in the mesh wire when they sit down to rest. Larger breeds of waterfowl can be raised on small mesh wire (approximately 3/8"). DO NOT let young waterfowl swim or become excessively wet for the first four weeks. Young birds that become wet will chill easily, tend to crowd and flip onto their backs, resulting in death.

Litter
DO NOT use litters which mold or compact when they get wet. DO NOT use fine litter until the waterfowl learn to distinguish it from feed. Otherwise, excessive litter consumption can cause death. Any absorbent material like chopped peanut hulls, pine shavings or straw can be used.

Feed
DO NOT feed medicated chicken or other poultry feeds to young waterfowl to avoid possible adverse reaction to some poultry medications. Use starter mash formulated for waterfowl if possible. Pelleted feeds are usually best as waterfowl tend to waste feed, especially when it is finely ground into mash. Feed a 20-22% protein starter ration during the first 3 weeks and then change to a 16% protein grower feed. To prevent digestive problems, feed some grit one week before allowing access to green fibrous plants. After 8 to 12 weeks

of age, geese and ducks will eat very limited supplemental grain. Most people only feed a whole corn and oats mixture of about 40% corn and 60% oats until breeding season. A 15% protein breeder diet is all that waterfowl require.

Feeders
Place lip of feeder at the back height of the bird to prevent feed wastage. Allow 6 linear inches of feeder space per bird and place feeders as far as possible from waterers.

Waterers
Provide plenty of fresh water at all times. Water is essential to keep waterfowl growing and healthy. To help keep the pen dry, place lip of the waterer at back height. In adult birds, it is good to give them a waterer deep enough for them to get their head under water beyond their eyes. To help ensure successful mating, it is good to have water available so the waterfowl can swim, especially larger breeds. An old water heater tank cut in half works well.

Lights
Waterfowl don't require light unless you wish to bring them into egg production early. If off season production is desired, use the same lighting methods used for chickens.

Nests
Supply one 12" to 18" nest for every four ducks. However, many geese and wild ducks like private nests, so plan appropriately. A barrel or bucket open on one end makes a great nest. Block the sides of the barrel so it can't roll. Waterfowl like to cover their eggs so supply plenty of fresh straw in the nest.

Geese production
Goose raising is a minor farm enterprise in practically all countries, but in Germany, Austria, some eastern European countries (notably Poland), parts of France, and locally elsewhere, there is important commercial goose production. The two outstanding meat breeds are the Toulouse, predominantly gray in colour, and the Embden (or Emden), which is white. Geese do not appear to have attracted the attention of geneticists on the same scale as the meat chicken and the turkey, and no change in the goose industry comparable to that in the others has occurred or seems to be in prospect. In some commercial plants, geese are fattened by a special process resulting in a considerable enlargement of their livers, which are sold as a delicacy, pt de foie gras.

Egg Production
The supposed period for Geese laying their eggs is in the spring around the period of August to September but our Chinese Geese breeds lay all year long. Fertility will be up to 15% higher and hatchability up to 20% higher when you use mature female geese than with a matured 1-year-old Gander. Geese usually lay in the morning so collect eggs late in the morning to reduce the chance of egg breakages. Since most eggs are laid early in the morning it will be a good idea

to not give your Geese access to swimming facilities until late in the morning, otherwise eggs may be lost in the pond/pool. Geese usually lay a clutch of 1215 eggs and then go broody. When this happens look for somewhere you can keep her apart from the gang like in a pen. To reduce the incidence of egg breakages, provide nest boxes and encourage their use for laying. Line them with suitable nesting material, such as wood shavings, dried grass, and allow one 50 cm 50 cm nest box for every three geese in the flock. It is best to have nest boxes in the shed and throughout the yard if you have a large yard. There is a huge difference in the size of eggs of chicken and geese. The normal weight of geese egg ranges between 110-120 gram.

Diseases
A well-managed production system which includes cleanliness, know-how, and disease prophylactic practices can greatly reduce the incidence of many diseases.

THE CONTROL AND PREVENTION OF DISEASE


 Examine the geese before buying them. Buy geese only from a reliable breeder.  Before the arrival of new geese, make sure that there is adequate good quality feed

and water.
 keep feed troughs and drinkers clean  Provide a stress-free environment for the geese.  Do not add birds from an outside source to your own flock; if you must have

additional geese, it is better to establish a second flock.


 Keep breeders away from growing geese.  The younger the geese, the more susceptible they are to diseases so never mix geese

of different ages.
 Give timely vaccines and medications. Always use the correct vaccine or medication

at the recommended dose;


 When inspecting the geese, always go from the youngest to the oldest.  Isolate any sick geese immediately. Removing sick geese from a flock reduces the

number of infectious organisms available to pen mates.


 Safely destroy dead geese immediately by either incinerating or burying them. Get an

early diagnostic report by sending sample carcasses to a veterinary laboratory for a diagnosis of the cause of death.

 Discourage visitors to the farm and do not allow visitors without protective clothing

onto the farm.


 Thoroughly clean and disinfect the building and equipment between flocks of geese.

This may not render the building sterile but it can reduce the number of infectious organisms to such a low level that they cannot initiate a flock infection.  As much as possible, keep wild birds out of your pens;  Maintain complete records at all times.

ASPERGILLOSIS
   

Caused by the fungal infection Aspergillus. Most affect the lungs, hence termed as Pulmonary Aspergillosis. Mostly common in goslings and some time infect embryos. Source of infection is dirty incubator equipment or dirty eggs.

Symptoms
 Difficult and accelerated breathing (gasping) with rattling or gurgling noises.  Depression and high mortality rate.  Nervous symptoms in a small percentage of the birds and can be accompanied by

increased thirst and diarrhoea.

Treatment
 Mouldy feed and litter must be removed and destroyed and the building cleaned and

disinfected with 1:2000 copper sulphate.


 Nystatin and Amphoteciricine-B have proven to be the most effective medications for

geese.
 5 percent potassium iodine in the drinking water for three days, followed by two days

of no treatment and then a second treatment for three days.

AVIAN ADENOVIRUS
The Avian Adenovirus Group 1 has been isolated from geese but the role of these pathogens is not clear. The disease is not a problem in geese, and no vaccine is available.

CHLAMYDIOSIS
Chlamydiosis is a general term which refers to infections caused by a bacterium of the genus Chlamydophila. In birds, the disease is caused by Chlamydophila psittaci and, although reported in geese, is very rare. It is however a disease of public health significance in that it is transmissible to other animals as well as to humans.

Symptoms
Symptoms including mild respiratory difficulties, conjunctivitis, inflammation of the sinuses, rhinitis, diarrhoea and atrophy of the breast muscle.

Treatment
The antibiotics of choice to treat this disease are the tetracyclines.

COCCIDIOSIS
They have two types of coccidiosis 1. Renal coccidiosis is more prevalent caused by Eimeria truncate. 2. Intestinal coccidiosis is less prevalent caused by Eimeria anseris. The level of infection and degree of economic loss is low so is not consider as a major problem in geese.

Symptoms
Renal coccidiosis can affect geese from 3-12 weeks of age In an exceptional acute form, renal coccidiosis can result in mortality as high as 80%. Symptoms include depression, weakness, diarrhoea, whitish faeces, anorexia, dull,
sunken eyes and drooped wings.

Intestinal coccidiosis also mostly affects young birds but does not always result in
mortality.

The small intestine becomes enlarged and filled with reddish brown fluid. Lesions are
primarily in the middle and lower portion of the small intestine.

Treatment

Sulphonamide drugs and coccidiostats are used.


CRYPTOSPORIDIOSIS
This is a protozoan disease caused by parasites of the genus Cryptosporidium which infects both the lungs and intestine of geese.

Symptoms
There are two forms of Cryptosporidiosis; 1. Infects the respiratory tract and the symptoms include depression, sneezing and respiratory distress with moderate mortality. 2. Infects the digestive tract and the symptoms include diarrhoea and, if the geese are young, can result in a relatively high mortality rate.

Treatment
Once infected birds recover, they are immune. Good sanitation is recommended as a preventative measure, together with steam

cleaning of infected premises.

DERZY'S DISEASE
Is a viral disease also known as Parvovirus disease, Goose Plague, Goose Hepatitis, Goose Enteritis, Goose Influenza, Infectious Myocarditis and Ascetic Hepatonephritis Highly contagious disease that affects young geese.

In acute form, the disease can result in up to 100 percent mortality rate or it can occur in a more chronic form.

Symptoms
For goslings under one week of age the clinical signs are morbidity (anorexia and
prostration) and mortality, with deaths occurring in 2-5 days.

Older birds, depending on their level of maternal immunity, will exhibit anorexia,
polydipsia, weakness with a reluctance to move, nasal and ocular discharge, swollen and red uropygial glands and eyelids and a profuse white diarrhoea.

Treatment
No treatment is available. Infected geese become immune and transmit passive immunity to progeny. Vaccine is available and all goslings should be vaccinated at about two weeks of age. Breeders should be vaccinated again three weeks before the beginning of lay and three weeks before the beginning of each subsequent lay. Booster vaccination at peak egg production.

ERYSIPELAS
Erysipelas is generally an acute, sudden infection of individual geese within the flock. Caused by bacterium Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae.

Symptom
Infected geese will appear depressed, have diarrhoea and die suddenly. Lesions are suggestive of generalised septicaemia.

Treatment
Antibiotics as penicillin For breeder flock vaccine is recommended.

FOWL CHOLERA
Fowl Cholera, also known as Pasteurellosis, is a contagious disease affecting all domestic and wild birds. Pasteurella multocida is the causative agent, to which geese are highly susceptible and mortality can be high.

Symptoms
Fowl Cholera usually appears as a septicaemic disease, associated with high
morbidity and mortality.

In most cases the heart, pericardium and air sacs are damaged.

Treatment
vaccination of all birds is recommended

sulphonamides, such as sulphamethazine, sulphamerazine, sulphaquinoxaline and


sulphathoxypyridazine are used in feed or water.

Chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol and penicillin are also used


intramuscularly.

PARATYPHOID
Paratyphoid, or salmonellosis, is an important disease in geese with young birds,
generally under six weeks of age, being the most susceptible.

Paratyphoid is easily spread through contact with either infected birds, their faeces or
through infected equipment particularly that used for hatching and brooding.

Symptoms

Geese with Paratyphoid will usually be less than six weeks of age, tend to stand in
one position, with their heads lowered, eyes closed, wings dropping and feathers ruffled. Sick birds will also exhibit marked anorexia, increased water consumption, watery diarrhoea, pasty vent and a tendency to huddle close to the heat.

Treatment

Remove all the possible sources of salmonella sulphonamides, antibiotics and nitrofurans have been recommended in the treatment
of paratyphoid In addition, furazolidone and injectable gentamicin and spectinomycin can be used.

RIEMERELLA ANATIPESTIFER INFECTION


Riemerella anatipestifer infection is a contagious disease affecting domestic geese, ducks and various other birds which means that infections in geese can originate from other species.

Symptoms

Ocular and nasal discharges Mild coughing and sneezing Greenish diarrhoea, uncoordinated movement Tremor of the neck and head and coma Geese that recover from the disease are resistant to subsequent infection.
Treatment

Sulphonamides chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline, chloramphenicol and penicillin

MYCOTOXICOSES
Mycotoxicoses is a disease caused by exposure to mycotoxins, and the most prevalent source of mycotoxin contamination for geese is mouldy feedstuffs.

Symptoms

Feed refusal, reduced activity, increased water consumption, reduced egg production
and reduced hatch Immediate drop in fertility or permanently damage the testes of the gander.

Treatment
Treatment is to remove the contaminated feedstuff immediately and provide the geese with fresh, uncontaminated feed. The best prevention is to ensure that all purchased feedstuffs are mycotoxin-free.

NEWCASTLE DISEASE
The Newcastle Disease Virus is of the genus Paramyxoviruses which has been isolated from geese. Clinical signs are the exception rather than the rule, but when present, consist of greenish diarrhoea and, occasionally, disorders of the central nervous system. In many cases, geese may be infected without showing any clinical symptoms, yet they can be carriers for a prolonged period. Usually geese are not vaccinated since Newcastle disease is not generally a problem for them.